Molly Webster

Molly Webster appears in the following:

Fighting Corruption in Afghanistan with Mobile Phones

Thursday, October 29, 2009

According to BBC correspondent David Loyn, Afghanistan is considered the 175th most corrupt nation in the world. But some ingenious people are trying to fight that corruption … with cell phones. In a pilot program, officials are attemping to eliminate graft by paying police officers their monthly wage via mobile phones.


Taliban Tactics Cause Civilian Woes

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Details are still coming in from a suicide bombing against U.N. forces that left nine dead in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday. To find out what life is like in the city right now, we talk to two civilians: American ex-pat Sarah Chayes, who works with NATO, and Fareedoone, a 25-year old Afghan university student in Kabul. We also speak with Afghanistan expert Michael Semple to find out if yesterday's attack signals a shift in tactics — is the Taliban now deliberately targeting civilians?


A Quart of Milk, a Loaf of Bread ... and Childhood Obesity?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A wave of obesity blamed (at least in part) on kids slurping cheap slushies and scarfing chips from local convenience stores has the Los Angeles City Council considering an unusual proposal: limiting the development of new corner stores in South L.A. Is the council's proposed moratorium a smart way to address a public health epidemic? Or is it an unfair attack on the convenient storefronts that serve low-income neighborhoods, where big chain grocery stores don't dare to enter?

We speak to public health expert Dr. Deborah Cohen; Lark Galloway-Gilliam, the executive director of a nonprofit health policy and education organization in South Los Angeles; and Jeff Lenard, the spokesperson for the National Association of Convenience Stores.

"The problem is that we have too many food cues that make us hungry, and make us eat too much. People were designed to overeat."
—Public health expert Dr. Deborah Cohen, on the danger that the kinds of cheap, highly processed foods usually available in convenience stores pose to public health

Comments [3]

Earthquakes and Relief Efforts

Friday, October 02, 2009

Aid groups are rushing into Indonesia on the heels of a second earthquake that shook the country yesterday. Indonesia's Health Ministry says nearly 3,000 people may still be trapped under rubble after a powerful earthquake two days ago. Aid organizations are mobilizing a relief effort.

We speak with Bill Horan, the president of Operation Blessing International, about what his organization is seeing on the ground in Indonesia as relief efforts get underway in earnest after this week's earthquakes.

We then talk with Amy Vaughan, a geophysicist from the U.S. Geological Survey. After three earthquakes in three days in Indonesia and the Pacific Islands, followed by tremors in California and Peru, we ask: How interrelated are all these seismological events?


Bill Clinton on Tape

Thursday, October 01, 2009

At the beginning of his presidency, Bill Clinton spent hours in private, secret interviews with close friend and Pulitzer prize–winning journalist Taylor Branch. They talked about Monca Lewinsky and the Oklahoma City bombings; they dished about world leaders and soon-to-be president George W. Bush. Now, after years, Branch has amassed his own musings about the talks into a more than 700-page tome. We ask him about his book, "The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With the President."

(click through to read the first chapter of "The Clinton Tapes")


Immigrants Axed by American Apparel

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Los Angeles–based clothing company is laying off 1,800 immigrant employees in the coming weeks at the behest of the Obama administration. And it's not just any company — it's American Apparel, a business that has made a name for itself for paying its workers a better-than-fair wage and offering in-factory massages. (And, yes, they have also made a name for themselves with their over-the-top "sex sells" advertising.) Are the layoffs at American Apparel the start of a larger storm to come, in which more companies will be asked to let immigrants go? New York Times immigration reporter Julia Preston gives us the details.

For more, read Julia Preston's article, Immigration Crackdown With Firings, Not Raids, in today's New York Times.


After Missile Testing, Iran Heads to Negotiations

Monday, September 28, 2009

Launched missiles and secret nuclear facilities: Iran's had a busy few days. Now, they are headed into a week of negotiations with world leaders to explain themselves. Most notably, they are going before the U.N. Security Council on Thursday. We talk with Gary Sick, senior reseach scholar at Columbia University; and Baqer Moin, former head of the Persian service for our partners, the BBC. Sick takes a look at what world leaders want to see from Iran, while Moin considers the situation from the Iranian people's point of view.

"People have said for years that the U.S. played checkers, and Iran plays chess. Maybe even three-dimensional chess. The question has always been: Are we really up to this game? Can we play in that kind of a league where we've got a very clever adversary who is clearly holding some cards and who is willing to play them very adroitly...I personally think we can do this."
—Gary Sick, senior research scholar at Columbia University, on U.S. negotiations with Iran


Housing Sales: Snapshots, National and Personal

Friday, September 25, 2009

The numbers are out: After four months of steadily increasing, home sales tapered off in August. We speak to Nicholas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, for a look at the national housing scene. Then, we take a look at the market from the perspective of three local players: Behrooz Shahidi, a realtor in New Jersey; Ken Ebaugh, a senior mortgage banker with Paramount Bank near Detroit; and Eric Mattinson, who is a first-time home buyer from Greensboro, N.C.

Comments [2]

What Pittsburgh Has to Offer (Beyond the G-20 Events)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today, global leaders descend on a small American town known as Pittsburgh, as the G-20 world summit gets underway. Local Pittsburgh residents are happy to have the attention (even if downtown security is a nightmare), but they are eager to note that even when world leaders aren't flocking to the city, there's a lot to do. We hunted down three Steel City locals for their hometown perspective: Justin Strong, Sabina Deitrick and Seán Sebastian.

Comments [2]

Dementia as Growing Public Health Issue

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Estimates say that starting now, the number of people around the world who have dementia will double every 20 years. That means today's caseload of 35 million victims will balloon to 70 million by 2030, then leap to an astounding 115 million by 2050. The news is in a report out yesterday from Alzheimer's Disease International. (Read the report's Executive Summary [PDF, 24 pages, 746KB])

We're left wondering: is the United States prepared for this increase? And why haven't we heard about this before now? We speak to David Shenk, author of the book "The Forgetting: Alzheimer's: Portrait of an Epidemic," and Renee Packel, a 73-year-old caregiver whose husband has Alzheimer's.

"He was an attorney, he was a very, very brilliant man. Now he's just a shell. He really cannot follow any conversation...He can't see a glass in front of him because it doesn't just affect your memory: it affects how you see, how you think. He basically has to be cared for all the time."
—Renee Packel, 73-year-old caregiver whose husband has Alzheimer's on her husband's condition

Comments [2]

US vs. China: A Climate Showdown

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Today, at a one-day U.N. summit, President Obama will talk face-to-face with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The two aim to get beyond roiling trade disputes to attempt an agreement on global warming legislation. What factors are separating these two at the table? Here to tell us is David Biello, energy and environmental editor at Scientific American.


Next (Small) Steps for NASA

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NASA has long been the government agency meant to lead the charge to the future, at least in the public's imagination. A report to Congress from an independent body of experts has put NASA's future into question. In a hearing before the U.S. House of Representative's commmittee on science and technology, the panel said the Constellation program, meant to replace the aging space shuttle fleet and drive human space exploration, was "fatally flawed." To explain the issues that the experts found, where the problems come from, and where NASA might go from here is The Takeaway's go-to space expert, Miles O'Brien.

Comments [1]

Union Yes! President Takes His Message to Workers

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

President Obama is traveling across the nation to rally people behind health care reform. One of this biggest stops happened yesterday, with a speech in Pittsburgh before hundreds of members of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor union. The labor movement was one of now-President Obama's biggest supporters during his campaign. How does the group feel about the president, and his policies, eight months in? We talk with Cecil Roberts, the president of the United Mine Workers of America, and labor journalist Philip Dine about the current relationship between the president and workers.

If you missed the president's speech at the AFL-CIO convention, here it is:


Your Health Care Questions Answered

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yesterday, we asked listeners to send us questions about health care. From "insurance co-ops" to "sole proprietorship," our very own Washington correspondent and healthcare whiz Todd Zwillich addresses listeners' queries, conundrums, and confusion over health care reform.


Health Insurance Co-ops

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This week, the Senate Finance committee is set to release the first draft of their health care bill. In fact, the proposed legislation was originally slated to be released today ... so what's holding things up? Here to explain the unfinished details is our own Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich. Plus, this bill might contain plans for cooperative health insurance providers. Listeners asked us to explain what these companies look like, so we called up Peter Fallow, CEO of Group Healthcare Cooperative of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Timothy Jost, law professor and health policy expert.

Comments [1]

Apple's Steve Jobs Discusses Illness, Regains Control

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yesterday, at an otherwise Apple-standard products announcement, the master of ceremonies was someone who has been out of the spotlight for months: Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Jobs had been away from his position as the company's leader on sick leave, for what turned out to be a liver transplant. In an unusually revealing speech at Wednesday's show, Jobs spoke about his illness. We speak to Wired senior editor, Steven Levy, who was at the event.


Fall Near, Football Season Begins

Thursday, September 10, 2009

D. FENCE! D. FENCE! It's that time of year again. Pull out your hoodies and foam fingers; your beer cozies and the ability to clap in sync. It's the first day of the season for the NFL and everyone is talking quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and...Michael Vick. The best competitors at the U.S. Open continue towards the final rounds, but American teenager tennis phenom Melanie Oudin lost last night. Here to tell us what to watch out for out on the field is The Takeaway's sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin. And he's even got some gossip for those of you that don't take a liking to men in helmets and shiny pants. (Gasp!)


Supreme Court to Consider 'Hillary, the Movie'

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A relatively innocuous (albeit negative) documentary on Hillary Clinton released during the 2008 election season may lead to something bigger than itself.  Today, the United States Supreme Court will return from its summer vacation to hear a case instigated by the film. It is, in fact, the second time the case has been brought before the nation's highest court, but this time it comes with greater weight: the potential to overturn campaign finance laws that have existed for the last 100 years. To take us from the film to the court case we are joined by Nate Persily, law professor at Columbia University; and Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for our partner the New York Times. 

For more, read Adam Liptak's article, Supreme Court to Revisit ‘Hillary’ Documentary, in the New York Times.

Check out some of the documentary, Hillary: The Movie or watch part one below:


The President Talks to Congress, America

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tonight, the president will appear before a joint session of Congress—perhaps the grandest setting for such an event—and deliver a speech on the need for health care reform. Among those watching will be Congressmen and Senators, but far beyond the halls of Congress, he will also be addressing Brad Bynum in Oklahoma and Faith Dow in California. As Americans who are still unconvinced on health care reform, they are who President Obama really needs to convince in his speech.

We also talk to New York Times White House correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg about what might be in the president's speech tonight.

Comments [6]

Amidst Criticism, Obama to Urge Schoolkids to Work Hard

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

It has been described as a situation as messy as an 'Animal House' food fight. Obama's decision to talk directly to youngsters today at noon has provoked accusations from critics, including 'indoctrination' and 'politicking' from critics. The fever pitch has gotten high enough that the White House released the text of the speech yesterday in what appeared an attempt to calm critics. This was enough for Newt Gingrich, who said it's a "good speech" and "good for students to hear," but did this quiet the bickering masses? We talk to parents and a public school spokesperson for their impressions. We talk again with Sheri Fowler, from the Rockwall Independent School District in Texas; Brett Curtis, a father of three from Pearland, Texas; and Michael Campo from Chicago, Illinois.

"My reaction is that [the speech] sounds like something a father might say to his child. That's what my job is. I'm a parent and I feel like it's my responsibility to teach my kids the values of education and that my kid goes to school to get the education and not to be lectured by politicians."
—Brett Curtis,father of three in Pearland, Texas after reading text of the President's speech.

"I think that this president just can't cut a break. It's becoming almost offensvive at the way some people are treating [it] and disrespectful to the Office of the Presidency."
—Michael Campo, father of three in Chicago, Illinois


Comments [12]